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Lakers present mixed performance in 102-98 victory over Philadelphia 76ers

Lakers5_510 There Lakers guard Kobe Bryant stood at the free-throw line, with the Staples Center crowd wearing gold New Year's Eve hats while chanting "M-V-P." The volume and energy somewhat resembled a playoff atmosphere, but the reason why the fans stood on their feet pointed to the Lakers' failure to solidify an ordinary regular-season win against an ordinary regular-season opponent.

It's a good thing considering the Lakers need to properly pace themselves for the grinding effort to three-peat. But it was also a bad thing because it kept a game much closer than it should've been. Bryant wrapped up that dichotomy by hitting two free throws with 1.9 seconds left to secure a 102-98 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night at Staples Center. It also capped off Bryant scoring 10 of his team-high 33 points in the fourth quarter, including a 12-foot fadeaway jumper that gave the Lakers a 100-98 lead with 1:15 remaining.

"The ball goes into my hands and I have to make plays from there," Bryant said. "I know how to make those."

Bryant made plenty of plays, including two consecutive jumpers that gave the Lakers a 92-87 lead with 6:05 remaining and a 16-foot fadeaway to give the Lakers a 98-95 lead with 2:24 left. Bryant's late-game heroics should be reserved for marquee games and playoff series, not for a game against Philadelphia (13-20). The Lakers (23-10) had already developed enough bad habits in a recent three-game losing streak, only to show better effort and team balance Wednesday while winning at New Orleans. Against Philadelphia, the Lakers showed that foundation isn't firmly set yet.

"We play a ton of games in January so I anticipate that will help us get back in rhythm," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.

Yet in the present the Lakers had to manage a Sixers team that's demonstrated a youthful balance and a capability of picking up signature wins (Orlando, Denver) and giving teams fits (Boston, Lakers) under first-year Coach Doug Collins (whom Jackson initially worked for as an assistant with Chicago). But Jackson shouldn't have had to dissect the significance of Pau Gasol's block on Thaddeus Young with 58 seconds that prevented the Sixers from tying the score.

The Lakers led the entire way, yet Philadelphia made it awfully close, thanks to balanced scoring from Jrue Holiday (19), Lou Williams (18), Thaddeus Young (14), Andres Nocioni (13) and Evan Turner (12), exploiting the Lakers' poor transition defense with 18 fast-break points and punishing the Lakers for not closing out on the perimeter with a nine-of-25 clip from three-point range.

"We made too many mistakes," Jackson succinctly noted.

Lakers7_510 But the mistakes were far from succinct. Bryant committed an offensive foul against Turner as the Lakers held a 94-92 lead with 4:24 left. Minutes later, Elton Brand swiped the ball from Bryant after spinning into the lane. Lamar Odom missed an easy tip-in. The Lakers allowed 29 third-quarter points. Thankfully, the Sixers went scoreless for the final 1:32.

"I'm disappointed we blew the lead," Lakers center Andrew Bynum said, which was as large as 14 points at halftime. "We don't want to push ourselves in this position where we continually have games up in the air. We want to put the team away and put the ice bags on."

Fortunately for the Lakers, it wasn't simply an ugly win as their frontline made a significant step forward. In his second start since missing the first 24 games while recuperating from offseason surgery on his right knee, Bynum played 31 minutes, grabbed 15 rebounds and tested out a new brace he said fits better. Even though he only scored eight points on three-of-six shooting, Jackson described his effort as a "good game" because of his work on the glass and he showed plenty of dunks and put-backs that tested his jumping capability.

"I could've been more aggressive offensively holding the position," Bynum said. "I didn't really become demonstrative in using my size and force. Rebounding wise, I was there, the ball was coming to me today."

Gasol continues to appear more rejuvenated with Bynum easing his workload, scoring 20 points on nine-of-12 shooting thanks to beautiful hook shots, nifty footwork and even aggressive work offensively on the glass, finishing with a team-high five offensive rebounds.

"I'm going to try to find them and knock down shots," Gasol said. "I had good looks and I was aggressive in the lane to be effective."

And Odom's second stint off the bench featured his same consistency, where he scored 18 points on eight-of-13 shooting, consisting of cross-court drives to the baskets, finding teammates in open gaps and fitting in tight space to clean the glass. Jackson wouldn't laud Odom, instead saying he was "tired" and described him as a "lackadaisical guy," but Jackson's never shy about pushing Odom.

"I feel good," Odom added.

The Lakers' offense, statistically, rarely became a problem, with Ron Artest scoring 11 points on four-of-six shooting. That didn't appear to be the fundamental issue, with exception to Derek Fisher's zero-of-seven mark. But where it became a problem entailed those moments of lapses where a misfired shot or turnover contributed to the Sixers turning it into a momentum changer.

The Lakers clearly wanted to get this game over with in time to celebrate the New Year. Bryant, for one, jokingly wondered if reporters would fire questions at him until the clock struck midnight. But the Lakers' careless lapses mixed with the 76ers' hunger made a festive New Year's Eve crowd more anxious than happy. Hence, the passionate M-V-P chants. Thankfully for the Lakers, Bryant was there to deliver.

Said Gasol: "We trust he can deliver in that period of time."

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photos: (Top) Lakers guard Kobe Bryant finishes off a dunk over 76ers forward Andres Nocioni in the first half Friday night. (Bottom) Lakers forward Lamar Odom glides to the basket for a layup past Philadelphia forward Thaddeus Young in the first half Friday night. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

 
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Sad to see Dick Clark still on the New Year's Special...

The plastic surgery looks fine, but you can't beat father time...

Dick speaks like a punch drunk...sad to see him come to this level...

Here we go again another lackluster performance by the lakers.Letting a 14 point led drift away and making it a 2 point game.Poor defending,concentration lapses and too many turn over.Lakers are my team,but we just can't compare this team to the mighty Bulls,and we cannot compare a certain player to Michael Jordan,Jordan was and is the greatest ever.He never turned over the ball as much as a certain player,his defence was always good.When Phil leave next year,he should take a break and then returned a year or 2 later,he should always be part of the laker organisation,if not lakers will never win in a hurry.So if i was Mr Buss I would keep Phil as some sort of consultant and continue with the same coaching staff,never change a winning formular.

@ LEWSTRS, he had a stroke you idiot, thats why he speaks like that.

LOOKS LIKE EVERYBODY BUT DON CHEADLES DESERVES A BIT OF THE LOVE.

\
JEEZ, IT IS A FRICKEN LIGHT BULB THING

UM, NOW THE LOVE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS SAYING>

NAH, THE LOVE IS ALL ABOUT DON CHEADLES. THE LOVEBOAT ROWANDA, THAT MOVIES WITH THE DOGS IN THE HOTEL WITH THE KIDS>....

SIGH

FOR &#$(**IJNG CRYING OUT LOUD!
]
HE"S AN ACTOR!

yeh, beats me. THE LOVE does what it wants to do. It really likes Don Cheadle for some reason.

It probably has a point. It lets me buy the expensive cashews, I watch it get all syrupy and sucked into america based magic negro stereotypes.

Hmmm.

Man, nobody wants to hear the story(s) about William Faulkner. Like Shakespeare and Sherman Alexie, he understood basketball.

Maybe even Big Chief Triangle understands basketball.

Heck, I just learned that George Luca's wife marsha or marcelalll Lucas was the secret genius behind star wars.

My freaking expectations of the universe are falling apart. Good thing I am still here with the cosmic bowling and the mai tai's and the snow advisories.

Dang it.

\

Hey good times. you guys take care with your morning posts. Try to remember there is a guy trying to read up through from a couple of weeks ago to tomorrow, if tomorrow goes well.

Heck, what do I know about tomorrow? Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I love you, tomorrooooow, something something something.

Yes, it is always a day away. How clever of you to figure it out. NOW WHERE ARE MY FREAKIN IRISES, YOU DEMENTED YAKUZA!

THIS AIN'T GONNA BE PRETTY.

LETS GET SOME WAR FOOTIN.....AH, HAHA HHAHAHAHAHHAHA., NO, LET US NOT DO THAT. FREAKIN COLD OUT HERE THOUGHT>


IT IS ALL ABOUT THE LOVE

IT KEEPS ME WARM AND LOTS OF OTHER THINGS THAT FRIGHTEN CHILD.....

NO, NE

phred, I hear that menudo (the Mexican stew, not the boy band) is supposed to help your post-New-Year-celebration condition...just sayin...

On a basketball note, looks like we're still unable to put mediocre teams away. These games with the bottom dwellers look more like pre-season or summer league scrimmages or what our Euro-bros call "friendlies" than Sherman's march to the sea or Conan's (the Barbarian, not the late night comedian) march to Red Sonya.

Yeah, I'm definitely happy with the kinda sorta victory, but it would be more reassuring and certainly more satisfying if we could put one of these away more convincingly. The bright side...Bynum (1) rebounded and (2) didn't get injured... and Kobe finally looked like Kobe in the 4th quarter.

Happy New Year, Laker Amigos! LET'S RIDE!!!

Corner J- I've had the menudo breakfast fairly as often as I could when i could get to real mexican restaurents. Also Hungarian, food, as good pepperrika burns twice. I'm found them to be fairly honest dishes compared to what we serve up in the US of A.

But there was the 'Chinese Food, Hamburgers' and doughnuts store.

yeah........

well, we love our stuff.

let's get to the Finals and see where we go from there. You guys need the love, and you guys need to see where the love can take you once you have embraced it through it's pose basketball.

Shite there are a lot of new years related song. Y'all can just go look your's up and see if it is attached to the back of a taxicab next year.

I'm going to, well, best y'all not know with what you know already.

Quite the nice game until our boys fell asleep again...
I liked Drew's game though. Love it when he rebounds like a crazy man. Happens to seldom for my liking. I had my doubts when he came back from injury as he looked completely lost on D, doubleteaming the wrong guy and so on, but he's turned his game around really fast and has already become a factor. Nice going kid!

Phred,

You're so right about Shakespeare...seems I was the only one who made the effort to see "The Tempest" amongst my moronic friends and co-workers, but they have no problem going to see those scream films, or the films with the comedic actors or dumb comedy uncomfortable love films....


Happy New Year, Laker fam

wrap up the decade with a decisive nail biter. Btw, note to Lakers, the two 7' purple and gold dudes standing near the basket are on your team.

Phred, hope ya downed some aspirin, and Faulkner knew more about basketball than he did about the LOVE.

Happy New Year everyone. Thanks for Kobe's clutch plays at the end, we could still savior the victory instead of another bad taste at home to another mediocre team. A win is a win.

As I stated in my previous post, I am very concern about DFish's slum. I hope he finds his way back and start making some contribution soon. We need him to be active and score some points, otherwise, we will end up playing 5 against 4 every night. I love Fish regardless.

AB is rounding in shape, his timing on the turnaround is still a little off but I believe he would be ready for the hatred Celtics in a few weeks.

Killer Bees, Killer Bees! There have lots of energy but need to settle down a bit. UPS has lost his shooting touch and reverted to UPS circa 2009/2010. Blake is still looking for his role off the bench. Barnes' energy is contagious. LO gives us a stability off the bench. As long as he keep his focus, we will be alright!

HNY everyone!!!

It would've been a really awful start to the new year if we had lost last night. Thankfully, we didn't. What I liked about the game - Drew's 15 rebounds and how he changed some of the Sixer's shots with his massive presence in the paint. I also like Pau's aggressiveness and improved accuracy. Spirited play becomes you, Pau, so keep it up. Also Kobe being clutch and saving the game with his dagger shot and ice-cold free throws in the waning minutes.

What I dislike was the players not closing out on the 3 point shooters. The Sixers hung around as long as they did because their shots from the 3-point line were falling. Last season, we were tops in defending that type of shots. We really need to find a way to replicate that ability. The lackadasical defense during parts of the game, especially the last few minutes with the killer Bs on the court was another sore point.

Give the Sixers props for their "never give up, never surrender" mindset. They fought for as long as they could. It's a good thing Elton Brand is no clutch player like Kobe, because Sixers came so close to pulling an upset against us. In the end though, a win is a win.... so let's move on to the next game.

Dude....look like the wheels were about to come off last night!!! AGAIN.

Poor DFISH, gave you NOTHING. You're KILLER BEES!!! NOTHING, OVERRATED, a BUST can't wait for PRIMETIME.

Wallace, great analysis, spot on.

LRob- I'm the other one.

Mamba24- Pretty interesting clip."New Jack City"

The Miami Heat....Your Next NBA Champions.

FEEL THE LOVE

We're shaping. We went away from the O in the 2nd half (I'm talkin' to you B's!), but started well. Drew rebounded nicely, even aggressively at times, and once I even saw him start to run the floor and COME BACK to pick up a tipped rebound!

Pau LOVES having a big body to draw the other team's big body away. Nice offensive rebounding and his footwork and shot looked much more like our ol' non-bunny Pau. When he's clicking like that, he becomes such an efficient weapon. He even did his best Dirk-shoot-the-jumper imitation a few times.

If our PG's were hitting a normal 40%, we would have won by 10 pts, so I'm not real worried. Always a joy to see Kobe go Kobe in the 4th, though seeing his hands without tape made me nauseous. Basketball hands aren't pretty, but his fingers looked like ET's. Gah! Gotta hurt! But he compensated last night by going to the rim more in a straight line, which cut down on some handle TO's (though he still had 4).

My favorite part of the game was the Phi Slamma Jamma sequence where everyone dunked it! I want more of that!

Someone needs to really tell UPS to either dribble TOWARDS the basket, or pass and cut immediately. This dribbling around from a guy who doesn't really dribble that well eats up clock, and he doesn't have the court awareness to see cutters, so nothing develops. Ya wanna drive to the hoop UPS; totally great! You wanna do a Curly Neal... not so good.

I'm looking forward to the next run of games to see if the Lakers can get into the "habit" of running the O, and can get back last year's furious perimeter D. (Remember when we used to shut down the opposing 3pt shooters?)

On a last New Year's babbling note; I played pickup ball with guys after summer league for 30 years, and EVERYONE in the NBA is stellar. EVERYONE. Even the Lukes will kick your azz. They didn't get to the bigs without being good. Which means that ANY young player (like the whole 76ers team) can go off for one night. They're not stiffs. They're tall, athletic and have ungodly hops. So the next time some "scrub" goes off, just remember: he's REALLY good! Not Kobe great, or All-Star great, but on that night, they really can be because they all have the tools.

End of babble.

looks like Lakers stand a good chance to go on at least a seven game win streak here, beginning with the win over NO.

Killer Bees, Killer Bees! There have lots of energy but need to settle down a bit. UPS has lost his shooting touch and reverted to UPS circa 2009/2010. Blake is still looking for his role off the bench. Barnes' energy is contagious. LO gives us a stability off the bench. As long as he keep his focus, we will be alright!

Posted by: Wallace | January 01, 2011 at 08:18 AM

What's up Wallace? Happy New Year

I'm not sure what you mean by Shannon losing his shooting touch? He's actually improved his FG% by incredible standards, even for the Triangle. He's our best 3 pt shooter, at 44%, much improved rebounder for a guard. If
he was ever in the 3pt shooting contest, it wouldn't surprise me, so, he had a sloppy game, everyone besides, Kobe, Pau, LO and Ron Ron did too.

Blake's role? Well, aside from his inconsistent jump shot lately, he's still shooting 40% from downtown, which is actually higher than his actually FG%. Steve's a gym rat, so, it's not as if, this will continue, he just needs to keep shooting. He's running the offense effectively actually, he's not dribbling the clock out or exposing the ball, like some PG I won't name. His Assist to To ratio is 2:1, which is admirable, and shows he's taking care of running the offense as he should. Once he gets more comfortable with LO's feel for the game, he'll knock down those open jumpers.

Good Morning Laker Fam,

Welcome to the first day of 2011. Everyone is healthy and the 3peat dreams are still in effect. Last night's game was a struggle, but entertaining with both teams shooting well. The Sixers did a good job of moving the ball (26 asst) and shooting the 3. The Killer B's not so good. Nice to see Kobe's explosiveness on a couple dunks.


My New Year Day songs…
Charlie Hall – New Year
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gd9BTMjcEBE


ABBA – Happy New Year
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcLMH8pwusw

Happy New Year Laker Fam!!! Kobe makes the last basket in the NBA in 2010!! What a way to end the year. Now, on to the next TITLE!!! Hope Each and Every LAKERHOLIC has a Happy and Blessed New Year............

I would've like to have seen Ron get some 4th quarter run. I thought the defense was better with him in the game.

hobbitmage,

That was an interesting reply to my comments to you and I enjoyed the read.
I don't entirely agree but am just too lazy today to carry it further.
Maybe somewhere down the road we can address this again.
Happy New Year to you.

LRob... ABBA!!!!

Here's my morning number for the bright new year:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg5_M5ehDFY

A mixed bag.

LO looked great on offense, but conceded too much at the rim on defense.

Poor defensive rotation overall.

More sloppy offense that leads to transition baskets on defense.

Kobe looked sharp, neither fingers nor knees seemed to bother him.

Bynum rebounded and challenged Philly when they penetrated, but was too passive on offense in terms of establishing position and demanding the ball.

Pau played well on offense, stepping out and driving both.

Fish shot poorly, mostly due to poor shot selection. Shannon not much better.

Artest found a nice offensive rhythm.

Should have been an easy win, but it was a struggle.

Posted by: Bob T | December 31, 2010 at 10:26 PM

i think when it come to benching fisher coach pj is brain
dead.how can you start a point guard who only average 4 point
and 3 asst a game and cant play defense.some one explain this
to me or am i missing something?
---------------------------------------
Bob T,

Have been screaming Lakers would improve by increasing production from the point guard position for the last 3 years, only to be slammed by blog Czar Mark Medina stating "Fisher's veteran presence in invaluable".

Please. Fisher has been the weakest link since his return from Utah. Fisher's contributions have been outweighed by his porous defense, inconsistent shooting and slowness afoot. Fisher consecutive game streak makes Lakers worse.

Will say it again, Fisher is a media darling and a mediocre PG.

Lakers biggest problem area resolves around standing around under baskets flat footed... come on purple and gold, get into the game and jump for those rebounds like you want to win the game.

@63 Footer – the great Bert Jansch – he definitely deserve some love.

HNY Sean:

My reference on UPS pertained to his last few games performance. Yes, he managed to increase his shooting percentage in stretch but he seems nervous when the game got close or when we played good teams. It's the work in progress. We need him to provide a reliable 10-15 points off the bench.

HNY, EVERYONE!!!

Saw a lot of good things in last night's game. Kobe, Pau and Lamar were very good on offense. Drew's inside presence and defense were impressive. 15 rebounds are very encouraging.Ron Artest showed some signs of life on offense.

However, the Lakers were guilty of lazy defense on the perimeter. Philly's balanced scoring and timely 3 point shooting kept them in the game all the way to the end. When does Jrue Holiday become a free agent?

@LRob....

I think PJ may be withholding Ron's fourth quarter playing time as a way of motivating Ron. You know the Zen Master.

@no mo'....

"#8 style dunks". Yes, indeed! That's a pretty good description. I'm still trying out how the one on Nocioni is the first quarter wasn't an And 1.

@63 footer...

Kobe's middle finger on his non-shooting (LEFT) hand looks about double its normal size. Still, most of his 4 turnovers last night were on passes. Only, the late 4th Q. strip of Kobe by Elton Brand was on his handle...and that was a superb defensive play by Elton.

One last thing that I noticed last night is that Shannon Brown handles the ball too much when he and Steve Blake are on the court at the same time. Steve is the more natural point. This may be a quirk of the triangle, but I think the offense would run a little smoother with Steve facilitating.

GO LAKERS!!!
17 in '11!!!

we all love fish but winning is about scoring point and playing good defense not about being a good guy.my mother
is a good woman but i wouldnt have her starting on my team
if she played defense and shoot like fisher.so all you fisher
booster keep holding your breath fisher good days are behind hhim,so get use to it,all we will do is continue to hurt the tteam.i think there is a role he can play with the team like
an assistant coach just to keep kobe in check.

@Sean.....

Sorry to read about your Dad's situation. Hang in there...our thoughts are with you.

"Kobe's middle finger on his non-shooting (LEFT) hand looks about double its normal size. Still, most of his 4 turnovers last night were on passes. Only, the late 4th Q. strip of Kobe by Elton Brand was on his handle...and that was a superb defensive play by Elton."
Posted by: bronxlakerfan | January 01, 2011 at 01:33 PM

at about 24 seconds left in the first half I believe, Kobe was shooting a freethrow, and he was tugging at a finger that was NOT bandaged...blfan, you are right...I noticed it right away, that knuckle was gross. It was about double normal size and the finger was going one way then another way...this finger may be affected by arthritis as well.....it was huge and knotty..... if you web search Kobe Bryant and arthritic finger there are other pictures one has his pinky on his shooting hand 90 degrees from where it should be...and Kobe doesn't have a look of pain on his face, so I guess he's used to that as well....

"For the love of the game...."

"Lakers biggest problem area resolves around standing around under baskets flat footed... come on purple and gold, get into the game and jump for those rebounds like you want to win the game.

Posted by: tmohr48 | January 01, 2011 at 09:40 AM"

True, they do stand around flat footed, straight postured...they should be boxing out, they should have their knees bent and take up as much room widthwise as they can, then go for the ball....Where's Rodman??? I'd bring him in for a week and show the team that they can be out-rebounded by a 50 year old (coming May). He really must have burned his bridge to the Lakers when he was with them...that would be something, Artest, Barnes and Rodman....wild....Rodman often got his rebounds by tapping it around til he could grab it...no one else seems to do that consistently. I believe he was a quick jumper as well, would land jump again quickly, a trait they say that Bynum has. Pau's starting to look burned out...Odom has been doing great, PJ needs to give Pau a few extra minutes a game, I say by using Caracter, who seems to be a force in his own right, granted he doesn't have and never will have the total game of Pau, but perhaps someday, he can be as good as, if not better than Elton Brand. PJ needs to play Caracter about 12 minutes a game, to rest Gasol, and to develop Caracter (not a play on words).


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